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Ward services staff upskill in pilot program


A pilot program designed to upskill experienced Mater ward services staff has proven a big success, with 14 people completing a qualification with Mater Education. 

The 14 Mater staff, who already work across the public and private hospital campuses, this week graduated from a Certificate III in Health Services Assistance.

The six-month course was delivered as a work-based training model to fit in with the staff's work rosters. 

Mater Private Hospital Stewards Coordinator Annette Wilcox said the students completed a mix of theory and practical learning.

"We had some ward staff who were in their 60s and hadn't studied for years as well as some who had never studied," she said.

"Now they've graduated from something they're proud of and have proven to themselves that they can do it."

Joanna, Daniel and Yasmin Schilk are among the unsung heroes of the hospital's ward services teams and completed the Certificate III. 

The husband, wife and daughter are all ward services staff, transporting patients to and from wards, restocking items and going backwards and forwards with equipment. 

Daniel, who started as an orderly in Mater's Emergency Department in the thick of COVID-19 last year, said he's glad he decided to enrol in the Certificate course. 

"It was a great opportunity to refine our skills and also to fine tune what you already know," he said.  

Daniel said it wasn't unusual for him to walk up to 10km a day on a shift. 

"We look after five areas in emergency and we do lots of things like patient handling, picking up bloods and taking patients to their scans," he said. 

"I owned a tiling business before this job and I needed a complete change. I love this industry and being able to help people and make them laugh."